Year-end roundup, books on technology and science history

As promised in my recent blog, I am returning with a few suggestions of recent science books that are suitable for gift-giving. I haven’t read all of these in detail, but they are published by reputable publishers and written by credible authors. This is the third of three postings, organized by subject area, this time … Read more

Epidemics, Meltdowns, and Climate Change — Books about Catastrophes, Disaster, and Existential Threats

As promised in last week’s blog, our spring roundup of science books continues with three books (or four, depending on how you count them) about catastrophes. It is a topic that is important in my own writing history. My third book Catastrophe! Great Engineering Failure–and Success (1995) was a Selector’s Choice on the National Science … Read more

Science Shelf Blog, Pi Day 2018 edition

At the Science Shelf, our favorite dessert is pi. So although it is a week past Pi Day 2018, we offer these recently released book treats to our readers (along with my picture in my Pi Day bowtie). I archive my book reviews at my Science Shelf website, so you may want to visit there … Read more

Science Shelf Blog, Year End 2017

My standard opening disclaimer: Due to the shrinking freelance book review market, my opportunities to publish full-length reviews of science titles in major metropolitan newspapers are now few and far between. Because I do not want to leave that territory completely, I have decided to develop a blog that publishes short reviews of science books … Read more

Review of A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolutionby Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 304 pages, $28, 2017) Return to Science Shelf Home Page Note: This review is the copyrighted property of Alfred B. Bortz. Individuals may print single copies for their own use. For permission to publish or … Read more

Review of Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard

Nagasaki Life After Nuclear Warby Susan Southard(Viking, 416 pages, $28.95, July 28, 2015) Reviewed by Dr. Fred Bortz See other reviews at the Science Shelf Note: This review was originally published in The Dallas Morning News and is the copyrighted property of Alfred B. Bortz. Individuals may print single copies for their own use. For … Read more

Nobel Laureates Debate the Future of Nuclear Power

At a Nobel Forum in December 2013, several past laureates discussed the future of nuclear power. Their conclusions were far from unanimous. All agreed that nuclear power is the only current technology capable of replacing fossil-fuel plants on a large enough scale to mitigate the risk of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. But … Read more

Tornado Chasers and TV Networks

Over the past two weeks, the Oklahoma City area has been hit by two tragic tornados, and although the first one was more deadly, the second one provides us with the more important lessons. In the first one, which struck the city of Moore, was classified as in the most powerful range (EF-5). The largest … Read more

Pro-Nuclear Environmentalism

On the 46th of 64 pages of my 2012 book for middle grade readers, Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future, I finally ask the question that the earlier chapters are designed to lead up to: “Is nuclear power worth the risk?” The remainder of the book provides a definite response, but … Read more

TEPCO admits Fukushima reactors should have been upgraded or replaced. Now what?

Since completing my recent middle grade book, Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future, which is about the implications for our energy future of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns that followed the massive earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, I have been following developments in Japan’s nuclear industry closely. In July of … Read more